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Melissa Cefkin

Principal Scientist, Design Anthropologist at Nissan Research Center, Nissan

An anthropologist with a long career at the intersection of social research and business and technology, Melissa Cefkin began working on autonomous vehicles in 2015, fulfilling a life-long love of transportation matters. She works at Nissan Research, where she is a Principal Scientist and Senior Manager. Her work has focused on people’s interactions with automated technology of all kinds, especially those related to mobility and people’s working lives.  A long-time observer and participant in the growth of anthropological research in and with business, Melissa is the author of numerous publications including the edited volume Ethnography and the Corporate Encounter. She has served as president and conference co-chair for EPIC and recently on the US National Academies of Science committee on Information Technology, Automation and the Workforce. A frequent public and academic speaker and Fulbright award grantee, Melissa holds a PhD from Rice University; she worked previously at IBM Research, Sapient and the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL).